Previous generations likely didn't have sleep issues like we do today. One clear reason would be that they weren't dealing with the stimulating effects of artificial lighting, entertainment (TV, videos, loud music, texting), and even working during non-daylight hours. With our western societies working 24/7, and our houses being filled with light from within (and even from outside ie. streetlights) we are totally disconnected with the lesser light that rules the night time sky.....the moon......and its cycles. Even when we close our eyes at night, our room usually has artificial light within it, from our alarm clocks, the street lights, nightlights, etc. This can interfere not only with our sleep & its patterns, but can even play havoc with some women's fertility.
(I've been curious if women notice relationship between the phases of the moon and their menstruation, and their sexual arousal. I know that seems like a weird idea to some, but I'm curious. I'd love to hear from you if you've seen any correlation, specifically with new or full moon phases. It's something that I'm trying to pay more attention to.)
The darker it gets outside (naturally), the darker we should be letting it get inside of our homes. Take the natural signs from outside and bring them inside. Use a dimmer light. Light some candles. Turn off the television and computers at least an hour (ideally, several hours) before you head to bed. Do things that help you relax and set the stage for falling asleep.
Many of us heard that every hour of sleep you get before midnight are worth two hours after midnight. Well, there is a truth to that, and in essence that would be giving you more hours in your day!! But there is another issue to that.
You probably have experienced being exhausted and wanting to fall asleep around 7 or 8 pm, but once you get the children to bed and clean up the kitchen or write some emails or whatever, you seem to get a burst of energy and stay up way later than you had planned. And it seems that the hours can fly past before you even get drowsy again.
The problem is that in the late evening, different organs start to kick into high-gear for the cleansing cycle of your body, and if you aren't already asleep before that happens it becomes difficult to fall asleep. Particularly between the hours of 10 pm and 2 am. So ideally, you should already be asleep by 10 pm. That may sound early, but it is totally do-able. One just has to decide to make sleep and health a priority, and make the appropriate changes. You can find all the excuses you want, but then you can also suffer the consequences. It's your choice.
Now, if you were to do this (be asleep, say, by 9:30) and if 1 hr before midnight was worth 2 hours after midnight, you'd have gotten 5 hours worth of sleep by midnight, and a total of 8 hours worth by 3am! You could be raring to go well before the sun is even up!!
This is what's happening at our house. This is The Ideal. Not the way it happens on a daily basis. But give me a break. You think things run smoothly every day with 8 kids still at home? (Rauchelle, being an adult can choose her own lifestyle. Overall, she follows suite. But not stringently.)
computers/TV off by 7 pm
8-8:30pm put the boys to bed
9-9:30pm everybody else to bed
4am Everette & I wake up. We are just transitioning Laars to sleeping in his own bed so that I can start my day. If he's in our bed, I lay awake meditating until he wakes up.
5:30-6:30am the children awaken. The little boys are almost always awake before 6. Gaelyn and Tov around 6. The others shortly afterwards.
only herbal teas allowed in the evening, with stevia for sweetener (if any)
We have found it all an adjustment; the going to bed early and the rising early. I would consider myself a Night-Owl, but I like what we are experiencing. I see every sunrise now. I feel more rested. I feel like I get a deeper sleep (unless the children wake me, of course, or when I am heavily detoxing and my liver wakes me up between 1-3am).
Last year I would never have imagined that we would be sleeping/eating/scheduling the way that we are today. But I really like it, and overall we all seem to be flourishing with it. Even my sister, whose had difficulties with her sleep for a very long time, is now starting to have some really great sleeps. She's been home here for 2.5 weeks and pretty much sticking with The Daylight Diet because the rest of the household is (while her dh isn't here!). She's dropping pounds and sleeping sounder. Yahoo!